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Project overview
  • Lead Organisation

    OneSteel Manufacturing Pty Ltd


    South Australia

    ARENA Program

    Advancing Renewables Program

  • Start date

    3 August 2018

    End date

    13 September 2019

  • Project Partners
    This pumped hydro project was completed on 13 September 2019.


The Middleback Ranges PHES Pre-Feasibility Study is a study for the development of a PHES plant at a mine site known as the “Iron Duchess North” in the Middleback Ranges, South Australia. The base case for the pre-feasibility study is 110MW dispatchable power and six hours storage with consideration to increase capacity to 220MW.

How the project works

The Middleback Ranges PHES Pre-Feasibility Study will attempt to establish the technical and commercial feasibility of using pumped hydro energy storage (PHES) plant technology as a large-scale storage of renewable energy in South Australia. The Recipient will also identify a path to final feasibility and financial close.

Area of innovation

As the economy decarbonises, more intermittent generation (such as wind and solar) will enter the market as base load coal generation continues to retire. This creates the need for new sources of dispatchable energy generation such as pumped hydro as well as the need for large-scale energy storage.


The Middleback Ranges PHES Pre-Feasibility Study will determine whether the construction of the PHES plant is feasible. Should the plant be constructed it will provide reliable dispatchable energy and improve grid security and stability.

Last updated 11 November 2022


How could pumped hydro energy storage power our future?

Reservoirs of water are poised to play a key role storing renewable energy to bolster the grid.

Old mine given new lease of life as a power plant

ARENA has thrown its weight behind a plan to turn a disused mine in South Australia into a pumped hydro plant, unlocking new value from legacy mining operations for the benefit of future generations.

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